Benefits of a Yoga Practice

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History of Yoga
The exact history and origins of yoga is uncertain; however, there are pieces that have been connected and allow some conclusions. Stone carvings depicting figures in Yoga positions have been found in archeological sites in the Indus Valley dating back 5,000 years or more. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom, health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to this system of physical and mental exercise which has since spread throughout the world. The word Yoga means “to join or yoke together,” and it brings the body and mind together into one harmonious experience. One of the earliest texts about Yoga was compiled by a scholar named Patanjali, who talked about the most common Yoga theories and practices of his time in a book called Yoga Sutras as early and the 1st and 2nd century B.C. or as late as the 5th century A.D. The system that he wrote is known as “Ashtanga Yoga” or the eight limbs of Yoga, generally known as Classical Yoga today. The eight steps include yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi. Yoga arrived to the United States somewhere around the late 1800s, but hadn’t become commonly known until the 1960s. It is well known that the techniques of Yoga can contribute to general health and well-being. Many physicians recommend Yoga to patients who suffer from heart disease, back pains, depression, arthritis, insomnia, asthma, and other chronic conditions.

Philosophical Roots and Principles
The philosophy of yoga has been passed on from teacher to student for many generations over the last 5,000 years. There is no true definition on what yoga really is. Some may say it is only a way to relax, others say it is a form of excersice, and others say it is a way of life. In essence, yoga practice aims to align the body with the mind through fluid movement and controlled breathing. At the base of the yoga practice, there are five basic principles: exercise, breathing,...
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